EVERY LINDY HOPPER SHOULD KNOW
compiled by Rusty Frank
When I began doing the Lindy Hop in 1996, I had the tremendous good fortune to study with so many of the living legends. I also got to watch them dance, hang out with them, hear their stories, and become friends with them. But, now, with just about all of them gone, I feel it is my duty to make sure all of my students really know this history and be inspired by those people, too.
Here are of some of the most influential originators and stylists of the Lindy Hop. I hope you will enjoy wathcing these clips, and that it will lead you on a journey of your own.
AFTER SEBEN, 1929:
Considered the "first" Lindy Hop clip. Enjoy watching Shorty Snowden (he's the third out dancing)... the man credited with giving our dance its name.
DAY AT THE RACES, 1937:
Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, including Norma Miller. You can even see Herbert "Whitey" White (the group's manager) in the background... he has the shock of white hair) Dorothy Miller (Norma Miller's sister)and Johnny (last name?), Norma Miller and Leon James, Ella Gibson and George Grenidge, Snooky Beasley and Willa Mae Ricker, and Ella Gibson and George Grenidge.
BEACH CLIP, 1938:
Film shows a group of LA Swing dancers probably promoting a local California swing dance contest in September, 1938.The dancers doing LA Swing (early form of Bal-Swing) are Hal and Betty Takier (man in white top, black pants, does the move that takes them to the ground); Jack Helwig and Genevieve Grazis (couple in all white); Richard "Dick" Landry in the striped top, dancing with the shorter unknown woman; Collegiate Shag couple is Connie Wydell and possibly Barbara Plum.
KEEP PUNCHING, 1939 - THE BIG APPLE:
The Big Apple began as a called circle dance. But in 1939, Frankie Manning choreographed this version, which has become a staple on the swing dance scene around the world. Dancers: Thomas "Tops" Lee and Wilda Crawford, William Downes and Francis "Mickey" Jones, Joyce Daniels and Al Daniels, Norma Miller and George Grenidge, and Frankie Manning and Lucille Middleton.
HELLZAPOPPIN, 1941: Featuring The Harlem Congaroo Dancers (a.k.a. Whitey's Lindy Hoppers): William Downes/Ooveralls & Frances "Mickey" Jones (0:39). Billy Ricker/Chef's Hat & Norma Miller (1:09). Al Minns/White Coat-Black Pants & Willa Mae Ricker (1:29). Frankie Manning/Overalls & Ann Johnson (1:55).
BUCK PRIVATES, 1941:
Jewel McGowan and Dean Collins tear it up in Buck Privates.
SWING FEVER, 1944:
Kay Kyser and his Orchestra with Marilyn Maxwell performing One Girl and Two Boys, dancers - Jeanne Phelps Veloz, Don Gallagher, Lenny Smith.
GROOVIE MOVIE, 1944:
This Pete Smith Specialty shows you how to do it! Jimmy Dorsey playing One O'Clock Jump. Dancers - Charles "Chuck/Gossomer" Saggau, Arthur Walsh, Lenny Smith, Kay Smith, Jeanne Phelps Veloz, Irene Thomas.
DON'T KNOCK THE ROCK, 1956:
Featuring a slew of Los Angeles swing dancers, including: Gil & Nikki Brady, Freda Angela Wyckoff, Lenny Smith, and Joe Lanza.
AL MINNS & LEON JAMES, DUPONT SHOW OF THE WEEK, 1961:
These two Savoy Ballroom dancers kept it all alive on television in the 1960s.
AND NOW FOR SOME OF THE CURRENT INNOVATORS
For any leader who is working on "phrasing," Nick Williams is a Master Class. You can watch this one over and over again and study how he uses each 4-counts of 8 and transitions into the next phrase.
And here's another Nick Williams with Carla Heiney to a nice slower song. Two nice standouts on this: 1. How Nick leaves room for Carla to shine, 2. transitions.
JUAN AND SHARON
A beautifully choreographed Lindy Hop number that is truly elegant.
REMY AND MOE
France meets Japan in this dynamic duo.
KEVIN AND JO
For precision and excitement, it's hard to top these two.
How to make Lindy Hop accessible to the average public? Watch this!
REMY & JESSICA
This is a CRAZY musical fun piece, that even includes jump roping and tap dancing! ILHC 2013 - Pro-Showcase - Remy Kouakou Kouame & Jessica Lennartsson
SKY & FRIDA
For followers out there looking for a fun style, watch what Frida comes up with.
CHRIS & BETH GROVER
Two of L.A.'s finest and nicest dancers do a quick demo at Rusty's Rhythm Club. Their smooth style of dancing represents some of the best of the best of the Hollywood Style of Lindy Hop.
SHESHA & ADRIENNE
Just love the musicality and big styling on this one.
JEAN VELOZ & MARCUS KOCH
We know her, we love her from her 1940s appearances, but here she is at age 88!